By James Marshall
North Dakota State is best known for their college football program, a powerhouse at the FCS level. However, their basketball team is no slouch either. Winners of three of the last six Summit League Conference Tournaments, the Bison will look to hold off their rival South Dakota State Jackrabbits in a tournament that will likely feature both of these teams in the final. The Jackrabbits have won the other three championships and boasted the same regular season conference record as the top-seeded Bison. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2011 to find the last time one of these two programs did not hoist the Summit League Conference Tournament championship. It’s safe to say that these two teams are going to be the favorites to win the conference tournament.
One team that may surprise everyone is the South Dakota Coyotes. They have been on the wrong side of many close games this year, including two one-possession losses to NDSU. The Coyotes will likely face SDSU in the semi-finals, a team which they beat by 15 earlier in the year and suffered a heartbreaking loss two weeks ago. If they can win that game, they will likely be set up against NDSU in the tournament final. Knowing how hard it can be to beat a good team three times in one season, I like the chances the Coyotes have.
Since SDSU is almost always in the conference news, it would be unfair to not mention Douglas Wilson’s name as well. The junior forward averaged 18.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game to earn the nod of Summit League Player of the Year. Wilson was crucial to the Jackrabbits success in league play, as he averaged 20.5 points per game while leading SDSU to 13 straight conference victories. Wilson only played in one league loss for the Jackrabbits, a three-point loss to Omaha back in December.
Although I am high on South Dakota, I think their in-state rivals from Brookings get the job done and capture their fourth Summit League Conference Tournament championship in the last five years. The Jackrabbits have the best player in the Summit League in Douglas Wilson and are riding an impressive 13-game winning streak with him playing. Wilson will carry them over the hump and punch their ticket to a likely No. 15-seed in the NCAA tournament.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org